What to expect from Eastern’s spring 2023 sports


Rob Le Cates

Pitcher Olivia Price attempts to catch a line drive up the middle during the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon against SIUE. The Panthers won the game 6-5 in 11 innings, with Price picking up the win after pitching 8.1 shutout innings in relief.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

 The spring 2023 semester brings new sports to look forward to on campus as the winter sports are wrapping up their seasons. 


The Eastern softball team will kick off the 2023 spring sports season with its first game against Grand Canyon on Feb. 10 in San Antonio, Texas to kick off the Incarnate World Tournament. 

The Panthers are coming off a 25-30 2022 season with a 10-17 OVC record. The seventh-seeded Panthers were defeated by sixth-seeded Tennessee Tech in the opening round of the 2022 OVC Tournament. 

The Panthers lost infielder Hannah Cravens, infielder Megan Burton, pitcher Sydney Cammon, outfielder Kendall Fields, and infielder Abi Stahlhut. 

Cravens and Burton were a dynamic duo for the Panthers’ infield presence. Cravens had a .355 batting average, ending the season with 13 home runs, 19 doubles, and 43 RBIs, ranking in the top three of the OVC. Burton led the team with 42 runs scored, which is seventh in the EIU single season record book. 

Coach Tara Archibald added five new players on National Signing Day. Middle infielder Karson Davey, utility player Emily Konkel, catcher Sophia Olman, right handed pitcher McKenzie Oslanzi, and infielder Hannah Taylor. 


The Eastern baseball team will start its season shortly after softball as it will take on Florida A&M in a three-game away series in Tallahassee, Florida starting on Feb. 17. 

The Panthers are coming off a historic 33-20 overall season with a 12-12 record in the OVC. The historic season came to an end in the first round of the 2022 OVC Tournament after losing 8-6 to the fifth-seeded SIUE Cougars. 

The Panthers lost outfielder Nathan Aide, left handed pitcher Trevor Nicholson, right handed pitcher Cameron Doherty, right handed pitcher Kyle Lang, left handed pitcher Jason DeCicco, right handed pitcher Hayden Birdsong, and infielder Dalton Doyle. 

There are three returning players that the Panthers will rally behind for the 2023 season. Graduate student infielder Lucas DiLuca, senior utility player Ryan Ignoffo, and senior outfielder Logan Eickhoff. Both DiLuca and Ignoffo earned OVC honors for their performances last season. 

Coach Jason Anderson added 10 new players to the roster on National Signing Day. One of the players is Wyatt Brown, a right-handed pitcher, who was ranked the 53rd overall player in Missouri. Bryce Riggs, another right-handed pitcher, was ranked the 17th overall player in Indiana. 

The Panthers won 6-1 against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks with a strong start gaining six points by the bottom of the third inning during the Panther’s Senior Day game against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks Tuesday afternoon, May 17, 2022, at Coaches Stadium on the Eastern Illinois University campus in Charleston, Ill. With the win 6-1 against the Leathernecks, the Panthers now have a 31-18 win ratio. (Rob Le Cates)

Beach Volleyball 

2022 was the first season of beach volleyball ever here at Eastern. The Panthers posted a 0-15 overall record and a 0-8 record in the OVC. 

The Panthers have a lot of familiar faces on the beach volleyball team, including junior Christina Martinez Mundo, sophomore Catalina Rochaix, sophomore Kaitlyn Flynn, and junior Giovana Larregui Lopez. 

Out of five OVC beach volleyball teams, the Panthers earned last place in the OVC and lost in the 2022 OVC Beach Volleyball Tournament to Morehead State and Austin Peay. 

The 2023 season will begin on March 7th against Missouri Baptist at Sister City Park here in Charleston. The Panthers kicked off the 2022 season, also against Spartans, losing 1-4. 

Outdoor Track 

The Eastern women’s and men’s outdoor track teams will begin their seasons on March 24th as they will host the EIU Big Blue Classic at O’Brien Field. 

Last season, there were multiple track and field athletes that took home first place in their events at the Big Blue Classic. 

One of the highlights from the event was when the women took all three top spots in the 400 meter hurdles.

For the women, a key player that will not be returning in Lindsey Carlson, who was named 2022 OVC Female Athlete of the Year. Carlson set the all-time records for 5000-meter run and the 10,000-meter run. 

A key runner to look forward to in the 2023 season for the women is Akiya Kollore, who set the first place all time EIU record in the 200-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles. 

The men’s outdoor track team will be saying goodbye to graduate student Dustin Hatfield after the 2023 season. 

Hatfield, who won 2022 OVC Runner of the Year for cross country, won OVC Male Athlete of the Year and EIU Male Athlete of the Year last season. 

The men concluded their 2022 outdoor season with a second-place finish and the women took a fourth-place finish in the OVC Outdoor Track Championship. Hatfield took one of the two top spots in the 10,000 meter dash along with fellow Panther teammate Jamie Marcos. Marcos will also no longer be a Panther after the 2023 season concludes. One of the athletes to look forward to for the men’s outdoor track team is senior Riley Baker.

Baker competes in both sprints and hurdles.

Baker earned OVC first-team honors for his 400 meter hurdle performance throughout the 2022 season.

Baker placed 31st in the NCAA Regional for the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 51.99. His best time came in the OVC Championship after he posted a 51.37. He also won a gold medal for the 4×400 relay team.

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]